The Oxford English dictionary defines the word entrepreneur as, “A person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.” Though I have been actively blogging for over four years, I never considered myself an entrepreneur till I became a freelance journalist + digital content creator. I know it sounds incongruous – is it even really a job profile that qualifies as a business? I don’t know. All I know is that I work for myself, earn profits for myself and by offering a wide range of unique services to my clients, earn more than I ever have before (including when I worked at the Delhi High Court as a lawyer!).
However, being a self-styled entrepreneur comes with its own set of challenges, especially when setting up unconventional business models. If you are just beginning your journey to setting up an MSME (small and medium enterprise), this post is for you. Here are 7 common mistakes that MSME owners make and how to avoid them:
- YOU HAVEN’T DONE YOUR DUE DILIGENCE
This is the primary reason that people often fail to lift off or face inordinate delays in their path to success.
2. YOU ARE UNAWARE OF THE LEGAL IMPLICATIONS OF YOUR MODE OF WORK / BUSINESS
As a trained lawyer, I’m aware of how daunting legal jargon and procedures can be. However, being unaware of the legal implications of your chosen enterprise can land you in serious trouble. For instance, your business may have an obligation to protect goods, whether as part of the insurance or because the good is controlled. If this is the case, having security systems for commercial premises to protect your goods, you, and your business, will be a necessity.
3. YOU ARE UNAWARE OF YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS
It’s unfortunately fairly common for people to ignore when they are the target of business malpractices. Be aware of your legal rights so you can defend yourself knowledgeably, should the need arise.
4. YOU HAVEN’T EXPLORED THE DIGITAL MARKETING SPACE
In 2021, the world functions online. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring the power of digital and social media to boost your business – no matter what the nature of your business is.
5. YOU HAVEN’T TAPPED INTO YOUR PERSONAL AND SOCIAL NETWORK
Many people have wonderfully creative ideas and even manage to put them into motion, but success never simply falls into one’s lap. If you don’t talk about your business and be open to collaborating with like-minded people from your own network, your growth will be slow indeed.
6. YOU DON’T KEEP UP WITH THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS IN YOUR SPHERE OF WORK
Readers are thinkers. If you aren’t reading up on the latest developments in your field or researching best practices, you are sure to fall behind your competition who is.
7. YOU DON’T BELIEVE IN YOURSELF
This is perhaps the most common mistake of all. Constantly doubting yourself only pulls you back from achieving your best work!
Now that we have identified the 7 common mistakes MSME owners make, we must also learn how to avoid them, corresponding to each of the pointers above:
- KEEP A CHECKLIST HANDY
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you have all your documents in place?
- Are you offering a niche service? If not, is it distinctive from what others are offering?
- What are the taxation implications of your chosen business?
- Have you thought of a focussed marketing plan?
- Have you hired the team you need? If you’re a solopreneur, what aspects of your business should you outsource
2. CONSULT A LAWYER
If you don’t have access to a lawyer, research online to understand the possible implications of your business on others.
3. READ UP ON INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS
Be aware of the part of IPR your business is covered under, so you are well-versed in the laws applicable to you. For example, writers like me fall under the domain of Copyright law, but fashion designers are covered by the Design Act.
4. MAKE A DIGITAL MARKETING PLAN
Outsource this part of the business if you find it too daunting, but don’t sleep on the potential of digital marketing!
5. KEEP UP WITH ALL YOUR GROUPS
Attend alumni meets, join social organisations and clubs, socialise with your neighbours, your parent’s friends and their children, and even the parents of your children’s friends! You never know who could provide an opportunity for growth!
Sign up to specialised newsletters in your sphere of work, even if you are wary of reading traditional newspapers.
7. REWARD YOURSELF
A simple way to keep the self-belief alive is to reward yourself for small victories. It’s an easy way of positively affirming to yourself that you are on the path of success!
I hope you found these simple tips from a female solopreneur useful. Tell me your tips in the comments below and share this post with others who may find it useful.
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